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17th Annual Einstein Society Gala

Southern Company, one of America’s largest producers of electricity, has been named the recipient of the 2014 National Award of Nuclear Science and History, which is presented annually by National Atomic Museum Foundation to a prominent person or entity that has had an impact on nuclear issues. The award will be presented at the 17th annual Einstein Society Gala on March 29, 2014, at Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town.

Southern Company, based in Atlanta, is a leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity. It owns electric utilities in four states and is a licensed operator of three nuclear generating plants. Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power is building two of the first new nuclear units in a generation of Americans with the construction of Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 in Georgia. Southern Company subsidiary Southern Nuclear is overseeing the construction and will operate the 1,100-megawatt units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.

Southern Nuclear currently operates Plant Vogtle’s two existing nuclear power units, as well as Georgia Power’s Plant Hatch and Alabama Power’s Plant Farley. These facilities provide 20 percent of the electricity used in Alabama and Georgia. Southern Company received the 2012 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune’s annual World’s Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings.

“It is a great honor to recognize the contributions of such a high-achieving company,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “Southern Company is the only utility company dedicated to developing the full portfolio of resources for America’s energy future, and its leadership and commitment to new nuclear development has been monumental to the nuclear industry.”

This will be the seventeenth year the National Atomic Museum Foundation has bestowed the award. The award celebrates the wide scope of achievement and commitment to furthering scientific endeavors made by individuals in areas of military leadership, medical technology, public policy and government, energy sciences, education and space exploration.

Southern Nuclear Chairman, President and CEO Steve E. Kuczynski,  will be accepting the award on behalf of Southern Company. Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) President and CEO, Marv Fertel, will introduce Kuczynski. 

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Representative for the 1st District of New Mexico, will attend the event as a guest speaker to recognize the Museum’s achievement of receiving accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public.

The Einstein Society Gala is the largest fundraising event for the Museum each year. The evening, beginning at 6:00 pm, includes dinner and dancing as well as a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s STEM educational programs.

Honored to have Received Highest National Recognition

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History has achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies and to the museum-going public.


AAM Accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability, and earns national recognition for a museum for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM’s Museum Accreditation program strengthens the profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and to provide the best possible service to the public.

“We could not be more proud to have finally reached such an impressive pinnacle of professional practice and major milestone in continuing advancement at our Museum,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “This is truly a significant step in our institutional maturity and growth, as it brings our effort to operate the Museum in line with the standard of practice and care expected by major museums.”

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 1,005 are currently accredited. The National Museum of Nuclear Museum of Nuclear Science & History is one of only 11 museums accredited in New Mexico. 

“Accreditation assures the people of Albuquerque that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the Alliance. “As a result, the citizens can take considerable pride in their homegrown institution, for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations.  To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers.  AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.  While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it generally takes three years.

“This prestigious accreditation places our Museum in the company of a select few who also strive for excellence,” said Walther. “This is a wonderful affirmation that we excel as a high-quality institution within our industry.”

New Exhibit Rolling into the Museum this February

The active learning exhibition, “Roll, Drop, Bounce: The Science of Motion,” will introduce kinetic and hands-on experiences to ball-tossing, wheel-spinning visitors of all ages. The 1,500 square foot exhibit will open on February 1, 2014, and the 11 interactive stations will invite visitors to explore physics and the science of motion at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque.

“Roll, Drop, Bounce” demonstrates physics principles such as momentum, velocity, elasticity and acceleration in a fun and kid-friendly environment. Visitors are invited to engage in a variety of experiences that encourage creative tinkering including catapults, Newton’s cradle, moving on air currents, designing and building cars and more.

“This exhibit presents the basics of physics on a level that everyone will be able to enjoy,” said Jim Walther, Director of the Museum. “Everyone from kids to teachers will appreciate this experiential exhibit, as well as the unique opportunity it provides for open-ended exploration and concrete understanding.”

Sponsors for this special exhibit include Albert I. Pierce Foundation, Lockheed Martin/Sandia National Laboratories, Michael A. Emerson & Kathryn Naassan and PNM Resources Foundation.  Roll, Drop, Bounce will be on display at the Museum through April 27, 2014.

“Discover STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic) Day,” an annual family event at the Museum, will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014, from 10 am to 3 pm; it will provide even further understanding of the world of physics and the science of motion. Admission to both “Roll, Drop, Bounce” and “Discover STEM Day” is included in the price of admission to the Museum.

Groups of 10 or more can reserve a tour for both “Roll, Drop, Bounce” and “Discover STEM Day”. These should be booked in advance by calling the Museum at 505-245-2137, extension 103; groups can visit for $5 per person.

Exclusive Tour to the VLA

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is adding a tour to the Very Large Array, a national radio astronomy observatory, in addition to its annual tour to the Trinity Site. The tour of the VLA will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014, leaving the Museum at 9:00 a.m.

Tour participants will first visit New Mexico Tech for a guided tour of the Array Operations Center and will then travel to the VLA for lunch and to experience one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories through an in-depth tour with scientists who work on-site.

The VLA is a radio telescope consisting of 27 dish antennas, each 82 feet in diameter and weighing 230 tons, arranged in the shape of a ‘Y’. The arms of the ‘Y’ are a staggering 13 miles long.

As a radio astronomy observatory, the VLA studies celestial objects that emit radio waves. With radio astronomy, scientists can study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The VLA operates by multiplying the data from each pair of telescopes together to form interference patterns. The structure of those interference patterns, and how they change with time as the earth rotates, reflect the structure of radio sources on the sky. These patterns are then taken by using a mathematical technique call the Fourier transform to make maps.

Departure from the Museum is at 9 a.m. via motor coach. The tour will pass though the Plains of San Agustin, west of Socorro, near Magdalena, New Mexico.

The tour cost is $75 per person and only 50 seats are available. To make a reservation, call 505-245-2137 extension 109.

National Nuclear Science Week 2013

National Nuclear Science Week (NNSW), a celebration to focus local, regional and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science, will be recognized for the fourth year on October 21-25, 2013. Observations of the week will include an array of week-long educational activities in South Carolina, mass field trips to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in New Mexico, and much more.

The week is a national, broadly observed recognition of how nuclear science plays a vital role in the lives of Americans - and the world. Activities during the week are intended to build awareness of the contributions of the nuclear science industry and those who work in it every day.

National Nuclear Science Week has the theme “Get to Know Nuclear.” The goal of the week is to encourage education, participation and communication around themes that are promoted on each day of the week. This year’s main National Celebration Event is a collaboration between SRS Community Reuse Organization and its affiliated Nuclear Workforce Initiative, taking place in South Carolina and Georgia. This week of activities includes education days hosted for students of all ages at institutes such as the University of South Carolina Aiken and the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center. A Workforce Development Day will also take place, hosted at the Kroc Center in Augusta, GA, on Tuesday, October 22, where high school seniors and college students can interact with current nuclear professionals, view interesting exhibits and learn about career topics in the world of nuclear technology – from nuclear medicine to emerging energy technology.

“With the nation’s spotlight on energy generation and a greener environment, it makes sense to recognize the contributions of nuclear power. Other technologies, such as nuclear medicine with its diagnostic and treatment opportunities, are also hugely important to all Americans,” states the Director of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Jim Walther. “The future career opportunities in science and energy are significant as well. This week provides all of us with more information on these vital topics.”

The Web site is http://www.NuclearScienceWeek.org and features a “celebration guide” that includes free tips and tools such as a proclamation template for those wishing to create their own celebration. There are also suggestions for activities each day of the week. Followers can also access news about the week through Twitter, Facebook and a nuclear science week blogspot.

National Nuclear Science Week is a partnership between the host organization, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and nuclear industry partners, including the SRS Community Reuse Organization, Nuclear Energy Institute, Entergy, the US Department of Energy, the American Nuclear Society, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging.

For more information on the Museum, visit http://www.nuclearmuseum.org or call 505-245-2137.